Week 6: Sommelier Feature: Brewer-Clifton Acin Chardonnay


Chardonnay is the most familiar white variety in the world. Proven to produce some of the most etherial and complex wines in its homeland France, it is the star in the Côte de Beaune, Chablis, Champagne and New World regions like California. The classic flavor identifiers for Chardonnay are lemon, green apple, white flowers with fresh, bright acidity.

So widely grown and produced, the styles can vary from light and crisp to rich, buttery and over-oaked. Wine lovers continue to fall for chardonnay wines and search for producers that make them well. I’m loyal to the producers that can deliver a consistent quality wine each vintage.

Brewer-Clifton’s approach to chardonnay is one which incorporates tradition with precision and restraint. The partnership of Greg Brewer and Steve Clifton goes back more than twenty years, when they started making wines in Santa Barbara County.

Greg Brewer and Steve Clifton

Greg Brewer and Steve Clifton

There first wines they released in 1996 where single vineyard Pinot noirs and Chardonnays. Unusual at the time, when other wineries were concentrating on blending vineyards from multiple sources. The two started, and continue with a modest operation, founded on their philosophy to be in control of the quality of everything they produce, from vineyard, to barrel, to bottle. Working with 100% estate fruit, they still continue to focus on single vineyard expression wines.

Their top level vineyards, Mount Carmel, 3-D, Gnesa are now joined by Hapgood and Acin.

Acin Vineyard

Acin Vineyard

The 2012 vintage is the their first release of the these two vineyard sites. Located across the road from the Machado vineyard at the end of Hapgood road, Acin is a gentle, north facing parcel, planted to just over an acre  of Chardonnay. The budwood is a Wente selection taken from the original Nielsen Vineyard planted in Santa Maria in 1964.

The Acin Chardonnay is whole cluster pressed, and aged in neutral Sirugue barrels for 12 to 18 months. They do not promote malolactic fermentation to retain the balanced, bright acidity.

The proximity to the cool Pacific ocean air, allows the grapes to ripen slowly and develop intense and concentrated flavors of citrus zest, honey suckle, brine.

The wines are primarily sold through a mailing-list and available in limited quantities to fine retailers and restaurants.

Click on the item to view pricing.

123670   2012   Brewer-Clifton Santa Rita Hills Chardonnay 12 / 750

123674   2012   Brewer-Clifton Gnesa Santa Rita Hills Chardonnay 6 / 750

123675   2012   Brewer-Clifton 3D Santa Rita Hills Chardonnay 6 / 750

127149   2012   Brewer-Clifton Acin Santa Rita Hills Chardonnay 6 / 750

123677   2012  Brewer-Clifton Hapgood Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir 6 / 750

123678  2012   Brewer-Clifton Machado Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir 6 / 750

127152   2012   Brewer-Clifton 3D Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir  6 / 750

127644  2013  Brewer-Clifton Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir  12 / 750